Emily Dungey: ‘We Want To Empower & Provide Sustainable Incomes For Local Communities’

Emily Dungey, Trustee and Managing Director, Gemfields Foundation, as well as its Group Marketing & Communications Director, offers insights on how luxury and charity lie at the core of the mining giant’s programme.

Emily Dungey

Tell us about your association with Gemfields. When did the journey start?

Gemfields and I crossed paths a couple of times before I joined the business – my background in marketing, strategy and communications spans luxury, tech and charity, which is quite a niche! I was intrigued by the complexities the company faces – both as a large-scale corporation applying responsible sourcing practices on the ground in Africa, as well as a consumer-facing brand that attempts to tell these stories in a compelling fashion in order to move the coloured gemstone industry forward.

Could you elaborate on the impact the CSR activities have brought in the lives of the children in Zambia and Mozambique? 

Responsible sourcing lies at the heart of our business. We strive to generate a positive effect wherever possible – such as benefitting the families in our local communities, minimising the impact of mining on the environment, funding conservation efforts, gaining the highest possible value for the country’s resources and both repatriating this and paying taxation to benefit the nation.

We build schools, provide health clinics and establish farming cooperatives, to empower and provide long-term sustainable incomes. Seeing these projects first-hand and meeting the people attending classes and growing crops is both inspiring and motivating – there is always more that can be done.

We see education as a passport to an enriched future. Building schools provides both children and adults with skills they can use within the local area, as well as skills that allow them to interact beyond this – computer use, language skills, and jobs in a city, abroad.

In Zambia we have built and enhanced three schools with a combined capacity of over 1,740 students, whilst in Mozambique 2,000 students benefit from the four schools we have established.

For young men and women in Mozambique, we have created a Vocational Training Centre which will see 2,100 locals trained by 2025 in skills such as masonry, plumbing, and carpentry.

We have also established farming co-operatives in both host nations resulting in locals increasing their yields, selling at markets and learning from specialists.

Other educational initiatives include a scholarship programme and money management training.

The launch of Gemfields Foundation, the charitable arm of Gemfields, allows us to further enhance this commitment to responsible sourcing in the coloured gemstone sector, and I’m excited to see what we can do with this new vessel. Along with the other trustees, I’m looking forward to scaling-up activations that Gemfields has carried out over the past decade and allowing 100% of donor funds to be directed, in full, to the underlying charitable projects.

You have been in the field where luxury and charity are closely interlinked. Would be able to throw light on whether the consumer of today is more evolved and conscious of her environment than before? 

My career before joining Gemfields spanned both luxury and charity, during which time I saw an increasing overlap between the two, with rising conscious consumption in major luxury markets. It appears to me that as consumers became increasingly aware of their personal impact, businesses realised that by adding a charitable element they could offer a more meaningful consumer experience and enhance the value of their brand in doing so. A charitable arm of Gemfields was a natural move in order to scale-up the projects we have been carrying out for over a decade.

Tell us more about your role as Managing Director of Gemfields Foundation.

I lead marketing and communications across the Gemfields Group, and recently took the position of managing director for Gemfields Foundation, which we launched at the start of the year. Having visited our community projects in Zambia and Mozambique, I saw first-hand what a tangible difference each one makes to real people and family life.

I’m passionate about providing consumers with the ability to make a positive impact with their purchase decisions. Over and above the benefits of opting to purchase a Gemfields gemstone, the Gemfields Foundation offers a unique opportunity for individuals to sidestep the usual overheads and see their entire donation bring benefit to communities and conservation efforts.

In my role as managing director of the Foundation, I’m keen to drive these vital projects forward for the benefit of remote African families and diminishing wildlife.

Why did you choose to collaborate with jewellery designer Sandy Leong for the recently unveiled Sol collection? Where will the Sol collection be retailed?  

Gemfields is delighted to partner with Sandy Leong, whose business has placed sustainability at its very core since inception. This like-minded approach to responsible business practices, coupled with a shared love of emeralds makes Sandy Leong a perfect partner, and we are so thankful for the support to our newly formed Gemfields Foundation.

The Sandy Leong x Gemfields Sol Collection will be available from 22nd March, 2021 at selected retailers and on sandyleongjewelry.com 

Emily Dungey is the managing director of the Gemfields Foundation, in addition to leading marketing and communications across the Gemfields Group.

Emily’s career to date has spanned both luxury and charity, noting the increasing overlap between the two in recent years, with rising conscious consumption in major luxury markets. Emily coordinated every new product press launch at luxury automotive manufacturer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for six years, before joining international charity Save the Children to shape a marketing performance strategy and manage the crisis response team. Her subsequent projects, leading up to her joining Gemfields in 2018, included a tech start-up, an eco-tourism company and her own marketing consultancy.

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